Whether one is a nurse, attendant, volunteer or administrator in a healthcare facility, each appreciates the importance of safe, dependable patient movement from place to place within their facility from their own perspective. However, each understands that transportation chairs are vital for the smooth running of a care facility and quality patient care.
Depending on the institution, supplying enough sturdy and durable transportation chairs can run into thousands of dollars, euros or pounds annually. Hence, it is important to choose the transportation solution that best suits current and future needs. Renowned hospital an healthcare systems across the North America and parts of Europe are familiar with the concept of nestable – or, stackable – patient transportation chairs.
One US hospital saved more than $100,000 by switching from standard wheelchairs to nestable transportation chairs for their patients. This was measured in savings from reduced repairs, replacements, theft, employee strain injuries, et cetera.
The following guidelines are based on feedback that STAXI – global manufacturers of transportation chairs – received from its customers in hospital systems worldwide. This checklist is designed to provide hospital / healthcare facility managers and purchasers with insights needed to make significant fiscal savings as they migrate from costly standard wheel chairs to cost-efficient nestable transportation chairs.
• A Hospital Transport Chair should be strong and durable.
Most standard wheelchairs have a weight capacity of 250 pounds. This is proving to be insufficient by today’s standards and patient needs. A transport chairs can carry a load of 500 pounds, which will allow for heavy medical equipment to be carried along with the patient.
• A Hospital Transport Chair should not have removable parts. Why? These items can be lost, stolen, broken off from the fittings, are awkward to remove, or can injure the patient or attendant. Standard wheelchairs have footrests that can be removed to allow the patient to stand up, pedal, and to collapse smaller to fit into vehicles. A transportation chair should have no removable parts.
Ideally, armrests should swing up and back for side transfers, and footrests should be designed to be out of the way when the patient stands.
• A Hospital Transport Chair should be rigid.
Personal wheelchairs that travel with patients need to fold up to fit into vehicles. However, a transport chair is designed to be pushed by an attendant; therefore, the chair seat and back may be of solid construction with padded cushions to make the chair more comfortable.
• A Hospital Transport Chair should be space saving.
Wheelchairs take up a great deal of floor space, especially in areas where there are many unoccupied chairs, such as at entrances. Nestable transportation chairs are designed to rest behind each other like grocery carts or shopping trolleys. This takes up less floor space, and a stand can keep your extra chairs handy and uncluttered.
• A Hospital Transport Chair should be easy to use.
Attendants and nurses spend a lot of their day pushing patients in wheelchairs. Standard wheelchairs with the large rear wheel are designed for patients to push themselves. They are built low to the ground to allow patients to pedal with their feet if desired. They are built for a different purpose than patient transporting by an attendant.
Attendants need transport chairs that are ergonomically correct to save their backs from bending and straining. chairs have a higher push bar in the back, rather than two handles. The bar allows an attendant to push with one hand while using the other to carry something or open doors. Attendants should be able to easily manoeuvre and roll chairs with smaller wheels and wheelbase.
• A Hospital Transport Chair should be safe.
This seems to be a “no-brainer,” however, not everything is as safe as it appears to be. For example, a transportation chair should have an automatic brake system that engages when the push bar behind the seat is released – hence, there is no “need to remember” to set the brake. Benefits like this should be found throughout the chair – anti-tipping design, side entry, etc. all of these points add to the overall improved safety of a transportation chair.